Add Beauty and Value to Your Home Through Landscaping

As summer arrives, why not consider improving the aesthetic as well as resale value of your home through landscaping? While it's difficult to place a price on how much trees, shrubs and flowers might increase the value of your property, a well-landscaped home usually sells more quickly and at a better price than one that is not landscaped.

The right shrubs and trees can screen the house from a busy street and soften the impact of noise without blocking it out completely. Plantings can provide privacy from neighbors without shutting out friendliness.

A shade tree on the south side of your home can block sunlight in the summer and lower the inside temperature by as much as ten degrees. Evergreens and shrubs can save energy, too, if they are planted on the side of the house facing the prevailing winds. In winter, they act as a windscreen to reduce heat loss.

While trees and flowers are added over the years, a new house generally requires grass and foundation plantings. The yard can be seeded or sodded depending upon budget considerations.

The best time to start your lawn is in spring or fall. If you plant before the heat of summer, you'll avoid droughts, which can keep grass from getting a good start. You'll also avoid the barrage of weeds that tend to take over a newly seeded lawn in summer.

For foundation plantings - the area between the foundation of the house and the point where your yard starts - choose at least several colored shrubs for blooms throughout the seasons. You can consult a nursery for details. Perennials that return each year or annuals that bloom only one season can be added for seasonal effect.

Trees come from the nursery with root systems balled and burlapped or potted, depending on size. While larger trees are more impressive immediately, they are also more difficult to plant and more expensive.

While trees are more appropriate in the front yard or at the sides of the house to serve as a visual frame, be sure that visitors have a clear view of the front door since it welcomes them into your home.

Of course, a side benefit to good landscaping is that a homeowner who doesn't want to spend lots of time and effort in maintaining its look, doesn't have to. The proper plants actually reduce maintenance costs.

Sensible, effective landscaping beautifies your home as well as lowers your utility bills. You can also take heart in knowing that your landscaping efforts will pay off when it comes time to sell.

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